Italy’s President, 80, Is Recruited To Stay On For 2nd Term

Lawmaker Matteo Salvini, right, speaks to colleagues in the Italian parliament in Rome, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, during the seventh round of voting for Italy’s 13th president. The sixth round of voting ended inconclusively on Friday, sending political parties into yet more intense negotiations to come up with a viable candidate to replace President Sergio Mattarella, whose term expires next week. (Remo Casilli/Pool Photo via AP) Remo Casilli AP
Italian President Sergio Mattarella was elected on Saturday night to a second seven-year term as the country’s head of state, ending days of political impasse by party leaders that risked eroding the nation’s credibility.

Earlier on Saturday, lawmakers entreated Mattarella, 80, who had said he didn’t want a second mandate, to change his mind and agree to reelection by lawmakers in Parliament and regional delegates. That move followed days of fruitless efforts by political leaders to reach a consensus on another candidate.

Mattarella won in the eighth round of voting when he clinched the minimum of 505 votes needed from the eligible 1,009 Grand Electors. Applause broke out in Parliament, prompting the Chamber of Deputies president to interrupt his reading aloud of the ballots. The count then resumed, with Mattarella continuing on to win 759 votes.

Mattarella’s term ends Feb. 3. Ahead of the presidential election this week, Mattarella repeatedly said he doesn’t want another stint. He even rented an apartment in Rome to prepare for his move from the presidential palace atop Quirinal Hill. But after a seventh round of balloting in six days in Parliament failed to yield any consensus on a presidential candidate, party whips and regional governors visited Mattarella at the presidential palace to solicit his willingness Saturday.

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